From the humble beginnings as a cheesecloth screen fitted on a rod, the french press has undergone many changes and passport stamps, from France to Italy, back to France, then to Britain and onward to Denmark. We don’t care who was the first with the design, we just love it for its simplicity, subtle fruit flavours and affordability. Good tasting, french press coffee starts with a clean plunger, so be sure no old coffee oil, grinds or dust are present. Boil enough water for brewing and preheating the plunger (we prefer filtered water).
Pour boiled water into the plunger to preheat.
Measure your ground coffee. As a general rule of hoof, use one heaped tablespoon per cup, or 60–70g per litre of water.
Pour out the water and wipe out the glass before placing the coffee into the plunger.
Pour in the hot water, saturating the grinds with the right amount of water for the size of plunger.
Thoroughly stir the coffee, to allow more flavour to be extracted from the grinds.
Set your brew timer to 4 minutes, then use hot water to preheat your cup.
In the final 15 seconds, break the crust of the coffee with the back of a spoon. Skim off the rest of the floating grind to make for an easier press, better clarity and cleaner flavours.
Push down the plunger into the chamber, using a firm, controlled pressure – pressing too quickly can make coffee squirt out. If the filter is difficult to plunge, stop immediately – the coffee may be ground too fine.
Once the plunger reaches the bottom, the brew is ready to pour. The flavour and nuances change as the brew cools, so take your time.
For a stronger brew, try more coffee, a finer grind or brewing for longer, but no more than 6 minutes. Grinding too fine may produce excess sediment and a dry, astringent taste.